the smart home trend takes off, so are smart locks. With these locks, the homeowner doesn’t need to bring keys or worry about losing them again. Rather, the door can be opened with the device that’s most personal to everyone, the smart device.
"Metal keys are so easy to bump, crack, snap, kick, or jemmy-open, and they don’t really provide peace of mind in securing your home,” said Steve Dunn, CEO of LEAPIN Digital Keys. “Isn’t it ironic that people’s most treasured possession, their family, and often their second most treasured possession, their home, is protected with a US$20-$30 piece of flimsy metal that anyone can get through by simply watching a two-minute YouTube video about lock bumping and purchasing or making a bump key for $10?”
When the smartphone is used to open the smart lock, two primary technologies are used to enable the handshake between the two: near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the latter of which is now gaining prominence due to its pervasiveness and ability to allow a more secure communication.
“BLE chips are cheap and increasingly found in every modern smartphone, tablet, and laptop, and this opens up our smart device interoperability over BLE,” said Rocco Vitali, Product Manager Electronic Security Products at ISEO Serrature. “Security of communication over the BLE channel is achieved with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), using session keys exchanged with Diffie-Hellmann Elliptic Curves and generated using the NIST-compliant random number generators.”
“We both encrypt and authenticate all messages sent with the latest standards to ensure no messages can be ‘replayed,’” said Cameron Robertson, Co-Founder and CEO of Lockitron.
NFC solutions, meanwhile, also exist. “Our locking system can be controlled using Android-based smartphones featuring NFC. The smartphone forwards all the events from the door to the online administration to keep the entire system up to date,” said Hanspeter Seiss, Product Manager at Wodsee. “All transferred data is secured with cutting-edge encryption standards.”
More management control
More importantly, smart locks offer the administrator greater flexibility and control over who can come at what time. Whether it’s a babysitter who comes over once a week for one hour, or a friend who is coming over the weekend, the homeowner can grant or deny access to others on specific dates or time. Once someone has entered, the homeowner can be notified of the entry.
“Bolt can be shared with family and guests on a permanent or temporary basis. Invitations can be sent via SMS or email. In addition we offer a full-featured open-web API so that other apps or devices can also control Lockitron,” Robertson said.
“As next step in our development roadmap, it is possible to send directly to a user an invite. The user arriving at the front door will type the invite and will open the door with a BLE smartphone,” said Vitali.
“Our online administration allows you to grant access authorizations to unlock our locking components and many more features,” said Seiss. “All you need is a computer or notebook with an installed browser, an Internet connection, and sufficient KeyCredits to register and send a key to the user. Also with one click the authorization can be canceled. Preprogrammed temporary access from five minutes to several days can be programmed in advance and sent to the customer."